The honors continue coming for Horn Lake senior linebacker Nakobe Dean, who Wednesday morning was given his jersey for his selection to the Under Armour All-American Game, set for Orlando, Florida on Jan. 3.
Dean, who has been considered the best at his position for the Class of 2019 in the country, will get to play against many of the nation’s top players, according to Tucker Goodman, who represented the contest at Wednesday’s jersey presentation and selection announcement.
“More than 90 of the nation’s premier high school football players have been selected by ESPN Recruiting to participate in the 2019 All-American Game,” Goodman said.
The teams will be coached by Steve Mariucci, a former NFL head coach and a current NFL analyst, and Deion Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who also works as an NFL analyst.
Many of the players who take part have gone on to become major players in the professional and college ranks, such as Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans.
“I’ve watched this game probably since I was a freshman in high school and I know it’s got a lot of tradition with it,” Dean said after the presentation before family, friends and teammates in the high school multi-purpose room. “I’m excited to be playing against some of the best. This is the stuff you live for right there.”
An interesting twist to this year’s game is that it won’t put region against region. A draft will take place when the players report late this year that will determine who plays for Mariucci and who plays for Sanders.
Horn Lake coach Brad Boyette said Dean is a special athlete who deserves the accolade.
“He comes to work every day, striving to be the best that he can be,” Boyette said. “When you work at that level, this is what comes of it. I’ve had players who were very talented, players that were very intelligent, but I’ve never had the total package before.”
The Under Armour All-American Game is nationally broadcast through ESPN.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.